Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, Venetian, 16961770)
Oil on canvas; Irregular painted surface, 162 x 148 3/8 in. (411.5 x 376.9 cm)
Inscribed (left, on standard): SPQR
Rogers Fund, 1965 (65.183.2)
The subject of this picture has been variously identified. It seems to show the capture of Carthage by Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus (later known as Scipio Africanus the Younger) in 146 B.C., a momentous event that definitively ended the power of Carthage. The carnage was unspeakable, and the city burned for seventeen days.
The picturea masterpiece of Tiepolo's early maturityis from a series of ten canvases painted about 172529 to decorate the main room of the Ca' Dolfin, Venice. The event probably carried an allusion to the recent campaigns of the Venetians against the Turks in the Mediterranean and the military participation of Daniele Dolfin.